In Armenia, it is routine for the annual Eurovision contest to provoke heated debate about the relative merits of the performers. But this year, post-contest discussion in Yerevan is also laden with political and diplomatic significance. The fact that next year’s Eurovision contest will be hosted by Armenia’s long-time foe and neighbor Azerbaijan is stoking unease among many Armenians.
Though Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a cease-fire agreement 17 years ago to suspend their 1988-1994 conflict over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh territory, the two sides continue to engage in firefights along the ceasefire line. In recent months, in fact, international observers have expressed heightened alarm about the possibility of a fresh war.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.